Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

Two couples walked together along the Embankment, enjoying a warm August night in London. Susan and Jackie were both humming the songs from the musical they had just been to see. Their two men laughed and sympathised with each other.

“WHOSE idea was it to have a musical based on the life of Cliff Richard?” David complained.

“Andrew Lloyd Webber,” Christopher answered reading his programme. “Sixty years after Cliff Richard’s first big hit single, the musical “Wired For Sound” has created a revival of the musical genre of the 1950s and 60s and micro-discs of the original movies of the legendary singer have gone platinum on their release.”

“I’m SO glad we don’t have to live in the year 2016,” David said, looking towards the welcome outline of the blue police public call box that would have been perfectly at home in the era that was enjoying such a phenomenal musical come-back. He didn’t really like travelling in it, but Jackie had found out about the musical and told Susan. The Doctor and Rose had got out of coming along on the grounds that SOMEBODY had to mind the children. A weak excuse if there ever was one.

“It’s nice to be back in normal time for a while,” Jackie commented. “The world the way I remember it, before Daleks. London is way too quiet in the 23rd century.”

“The 23rd century IS your normal time now, Jackie,” Christopher reminded her. “Home… is where the hearts are. And mine are there, where everyone I love is.”

“I know,” she said. “And I do love living there. But still…”

“Cliff is still alive in this era,” Susan said. “And other people know who he is. It was amazing being among people who love the same music as me. Until Jackie married you, father, I was the ONLY Cliff fan in the 23rd century.” The two women laughed and sighed and broke into song together. The two men shared a moment akin to the comradeship of soldiers under enemy fire.

“Jackie,” Christopher said quietly. “When our baby is born, it is NOT going to be called Cliff. Or Richard, or Harry Rodger either. Just so you know that.”

“I KNOW,” she laughed. “He’s the first born son of the heir of the great House of Lœngbærrow. His name has to be 200 letters long and unpronounceable.” She put her hand on her stomach and felt the four month bump. “I’ll call you Cliff for short,” she whispered.

Christopher smiled indulgently. He didn’t much care what she called him for short. He was looking forward to holding his son in his arms as much as, a long time ago, he had held his baby daughter. He didn’t care if his child WAS the first Time Lord to have either the real or stage names of a popular music singer incorporated into his name – just as long as he was born safely.

“What’s that?” Susan asked, the happy smile fading from her face as she turned around, trying to locate the source of a deeply distressed cry that disturbed the quiet of the night.

“There,” David said. They all saw the man at once. He was stumbling along the embankment crying piteously and clutching his stomach as if he was hurt.

“Oh don’t,” Jackie cried as Christopher stepped towards him. “He might be a druggie or something.”

“Even if he is,” Christopher replied. “He’s hurt. And I can’t NOT help.”

“Just like grandfather,” Susan sighed as Jackie responded with “Just like your dad.”

But they knew it was actually just Christopher being himself. He wouldn’t refuse a hand of friendship and help to anyone. He stepped towards the stricken man while David stood by the two women, offering them his protection, and tensing himself to go to his father-in-law’s aid if he should need it.

“Hello,” Christopher said in a calm voice as he reached the man. “Can I help you? What has happened?”

It was obvious what had happened. Christopher saw the blood seeping from under his hands as he pressed them against his abdomen. He had been stabbed or shot. Probably the first.

“All right,” he said, glancing towards the TARDIS where it was parked some fifty yards away. “All right, I can take you to a safe place right now.” He lifted the man in his arms and noted how light he was even given his own Time Lord strength that was superior to most Humans. He took a deep breath and folded time as he ran with him.

By the time the others caught him up Christopher was in the TARDIS medical room giving the stricken man first aid. Susan came to his side and began to help. David and Jackie watched anxiously.

“It IS a stab wound,” Christopher confirmed. His medical knowledge was limited but his father had taught him a few things. “And he’s not Human.”

He was a curious looking man. About five foot five and wirily thin, with skin that looked unnaturally pale. His hair was pure white and his eyes were a pale, watery blue. He was dressed in an ordinary pair of jeans and t-shirt, but as Christopher removed the clothing to put a gauze pad over the wound and apply pressure according to the correct procedure, he saw his body beneath the clothing. The abdomen, from the neck down was covered in a pale blue mottling that reminded him of the markings of a Pazithi Laprid, one of the native animals of his home world that was similar to an Earth Leopard except that the markings were lighter and more subtle.

They weren’t tattoos. They were his natural skin colour.

“We can’t take him to a hospital,” Susan said as she ran a simple test that should indicate blood type. It came up negative for all of the Human variations and was unhelpful in ascertaining exactly what his species WAS.

“Take over here,” Christopher said. “Keep applying the pressure. I’m going to get us home. My father can help him.”

Christopher ran from the medical room as Susan took over the basic first aid procedure to slow the blood loss. David followed him saying he would help. Jackie came to the side of the stricken man.

“You’ll be all right,” she told him as she took hold of his hand. He had long, thin fingers that really felt as if they WERE alien as they closed around hers.

“He’s cold,” Jackie said to Susan. “That’s bad isn’t it? It’s a sign of shock… I’m sure it is.”

“I don’t know if that counts in this case,” she replied. “Different species have different body temperatures. Ours is nearly 30 degrees cooler than yours.”

“I always thought Christopher just had bad circulation,” Jackie answered. “When we’re in bed, he always feels cold until we’ve cuddled up for a bit.”

“I think this man’s blood is a few degrees less than ours,” Susan commented. “He must come from a warmer climate and his body is adapted to keep him cool.”

They were aware as they spoke of the change from a faint vibration while in parked mode to a distinct hum as the TARDIS engines started up. It was like being below deck on a ship except without the up and down sensation.

“We’re in time vortex now,” Susan said as the engines changed up in pitch. “Grandfather would be able to tell how fast we’re going and in which direction. But he’s too clever for his own good sometimes.”

“Pl…ease….” The alien gripped Jackie’s hand tightly. “Help…”

“We’re trying to help you, sweetheart,” she answered, stroking his cheek with her free hand. “Do you have a name?”

“Har’o’-or-rt-ertor-er’se,” he replied. Or something very like that. Jackie wasn’t sure if it was his alien name or he had a stutter.

“Harry?” she said, making her best stab at it. “Well, close enough, anyway.” He groaned in pain and gripped her tighter. “All right, Harry. Don’t you fret. We’re taking you to The Doctor. He’s the cleverest person in the universe and he’ll know how to help you.”

Please, she thought. This time, don’t let us get lost and end up in the Jurassic era with a T-Rex about to step on us.

They didn’t. They felt the TARDIS materialise. Less than a minute later they heard running feet on the corridor outside and The Doctor raced into the medical room. He looked quickly at the scene and immediately went to the side alcove to ‘scrub up’. He came back to the table in a surgical gown and mask and gloves and prepared a syringe.

“Ok, Susan, just hold on a few more moments. I’m going to give him a local anaesthetic otherwise it’s going to hurt like hell when you stop applying pressure. I can’t risk a general one. Nothing I have in here is suitable for his species.” She watched him insert the syringe. The patient looked at him fearfully.

“It’s all right, Harry,” Jackie assured him. “He’s going to help you. Don’t you worry.”

Harry’s pale blue eyes blinked in understanding.

“You can step back too,” The Doctor told her as he took over from Susan and began to peel back the blood soaked gauze and examine the wound. “I can look after him now.”

“He doesn’t want me too,” Jackie answered as the long fingers tightened around her hand and the eyes looked at her appealingly. “Let me look after him. Poor thing. He’s all alone and scared. He doesn’t look very old. Just a youngster.”

“He’s a Demnian,” The Doctor said. “About 8 years of age. Which would be a teenager in his society. Probably a student.”

“Eight?” Jackie looked startled. “But….”

“No more than that. The mottling is too pale. It gets darker as they age, you see. By the time he’s twenty it will be a deep midnight blue and it will have travelled up around his face and neck. Then the mottles will increase in size until his whole body except the features of the face are deep blue.”

“But he’s eight years old now… and that’s a teenager.” Jackie was having a little trouble getting around the concept. She stroked his face gently. “They grow up fast on his planet.”

“No,” The Doctor explained. “The years are about four times as long as ours. It’s complicated. But he IS just a juvenile of his species. Probably this is his first field trip from home. And he gets mugged in London.” The Doctor sighed. “I despair of your species sometimes, Jackie.”

“Well, don’t they have muggers on HIS planet?”

“Not unless something tragic has gone wrong with their society. They’re the most peaceful race I ever had contact with. They have no crime, no wars. They dedicate their lives to creative arts. They paint pictures and make beautiful music, sculpt fantastic sculptures, exquisite poetry… About the closest I’ve ever seen to a perfect society.”

“So if it’s so great, why do you live here with us stupid apes?”

“It’s boring,” The Doctor replied. “I spent six months there when I was in my 300s. They are beautiful, delightful, kind-hearted, dull, BORING people.” He stopped talking then and concentrated on cleaning the wound, ensuring there was no internal damage and suturing the horrible gash before Susan helped him to bandage it firmly. He gave Harry the Demnian a tetanus shot and a sedative before he stood back from the table.

“He’s going to be just fine now,” he assured Jackie. “A couple of days in bed, till the stitches are ready to come out, and he’ll be right as rain.”

“Oh, thank goodness.” She turned and looked at him. He was starting to fall asleep now as the sedative took effect. “There you go, sweetheart. I told you The Doctor would look after you.”

“Course I will,” The Doctor said. “Come on, let’s get him into a proper bed so he can get some rest.” He lifted the Demnian into his arms and carried him out of the TARDIS and up the stairs to the guest bedroom. They found him some pyjamas and put him to bed.

“He’ll be ok for a while,” The Doctor told Jackie. “You should go to bed.”

“I’d rather stay with him,” she said.

“No,” The Doctor insisted. “I’m going to watch him. You have to look after my grandson. Go on to bed.”

“He’s somebody’s baby, too,” Jackie protested. But she reluctantly left the room. The Doctor sat next to the bed and watched him sleep. He understood what Jackie was feeling. He wanted to be sure he was all right, too. He didn’t want Harry to die under his roof, especially after all he had done to save him.

Jackie was right. He WAS somebody’s baby. Tomorrow he would have to do something about contacting his family and letting them know where he was. For now, he was their collective responsibility.

The Doctor didn’t sleep, but he did let himself drop into a light meditative trance. He was aware of the room around him and the soft breathing of his patient, but he was switched off from it all until he was needed. He noticed Jackie slip back into the room a little after dawn and sit next to Harry, stroking his hair and soothing him. He brought himself back to full consciousness but didn’t let Jackie know he was awake. He watched her with their wounded alien, and thought how, for all her faults, she was a natural mother. That was the instinct awoken in her by Harry. Motherhood. He imagined how she must have sat by Rose’s bed when she was a little girl, when she was sick, maybe, and needed her mum all the more. In another twelve months she would have her new baby to tend to. Mother to his grandson, the latest new Gallifreyan to be born into their family. And he knew she would care for that child just as tenderly.

And inbetween, she was giving all that tender loving care to Harry the Demnian teenager.

Bless her, he thought.

A little after eight Michael the butler came into the room with a breakfast tray.

“Put it there, by the bed,” Jackie told him and he did so and left the room quietly. “Come on, sweetheart,” she said to Harry, shaking him gently. “Breakfast time. Get some food inside you.”

Harry opened his eyes and looked up at her and murmured something in his own language. The Doctor was sure it was ‘mother’. Jackie helped him to sit up against propped pillows and put the tray in front of him. He looked at the food and his nostrils seemed to flare as an aroma of eggs and bacon, sausages and black pudding assailed them, and he gave a howl of fear and tried to push the food away. He began to talk very fast and urgently in his own language. Both The Doctor and Jackie heard it in English but it was still quite garbled and Jackie didn’t understand what he was saying.

“He’s telling you he doesn’t eat meat,” The Doctor said, jumping up from where he was sitting and coming to the other side of the bed. “His people are vegetarians. They abhor the very idea of killing animals for food. Killing anything for that matter. I’ve seen them get upset about harvesting grain in the fields because the wheat is a living plant.”

“Oh,” Jackie looked at The Doctor than back at Harry, then at the food. “Oh. I thought… I thought it would be good for him. Plenty of protein.”

“It will be,” The Doctor assured her. “Harry, listen to me. Nobody in this family eats meat either. This isn’t real meat. It’s very cleverly synthesised vegetable protein. It’s derived from a fungus that was actually discovered up the Amazon in the 20th century by an old friend of mine. And it’s perfectly all right for you to eat it.”

Harry looked at him slightly disbelievingly. So did Jackie. Then she picked up a fork of food and offered it to him. The Doctor said something quietly to him in his own language and he accepted the food. He let Jackie feed him.

“Is that true?” Jackie asked when he had eaten his fill and she had tucked him back down into the bed again. “About the vegetable protein?”

“Of course it is. Even Susan’s fantastic minted lamb cutlets. It used to be rather stringy, but they have really perfected the technique these days. You didn’t even notice the difference all the time you’ve been living here.”

“That’s very weird,” she answered. “But at least it means Harry can eat our food. Poor mite. He’s so thin. He needs looking after.”

“He’s not thin, Jackie. That’s natural for his species. He’s an average specimen.”

“He’s not a specimen,” Jackie responded. “Don’t say it like that. As if he’s some THING in a science lab. He’s a lost boy and he needs looking after.”

Harry looked up at them both and beckoned with his long fingered hand to The Doctor. He whispered something to him and he laughed softly. “Yes, I can sort that out for you,” he said, lending him a hand to climb out of the bed and walk slowly to the guest bathroom. When they returned Jackie was anxious to help him settle back into the bed. He was happy to allow her to do THOSE things for her.

“Well, you look after him,” The Doctor told her. “You’d best call me or Christopher when he needs another bathroom break. But otherwise he’s your patient. Try and see if he can tell you where his space capsule is. He must have been dropped off in one. I’ll get the twins to go and pick it up. They can transmat it into storage in their TARDIS. Don’t want it lying around 21st century London for that lot at Torchwood to start trying to retro-engineer it.”


His capsule had been left in cloaked mode on the Thames Embankment, not so very far from the place where he and Rose, in what seemed like another lifetime even to The Doctor, had once traced an underground Nestene Lair. The twins retrieved it easily and kept it in their TARDIS, with strict instructions that THEY were not to retro-engineer it either.

Meanwhile, Harry made steady recovery with Jackie as his chief nurse. She was devoted to his care, sitting with him every day and caring for all his needs except for those bathroom breaks. She brought books and read to him. Short stories and poems, mostly. She listened to him talk about his planet and was enchanted by his descriptions of it.

“It does seem a beautiful place,” Jackie said as she watched The Doctor check the progress of Harry’s stitches on the fourth morning. “Can we visit there some time?”

“The co-ordinates will be in the TARDIS database,” he told her. “Christopher can take you for your wedding anniversary. It's time he learnt to go further than Earth temporal locations. Meanwhile, I think its time you stopped neglecting your husband and the rest of the family. Harry is well on the mend now. I’ll bring a video screen in. He can watch TV or use the internet facility to look up some of the Earth culture he came here to study. He’ll be happy enough.”

Apart from anything else, The Doctor needed to BE Doctor to Jackie. When she finally did tear herself from Harry’s side he brought her to the TARDIS medical room where he used the body scanner to check up on the progress of the baby.

“He’s doing just fine,” he confirmed as he showed Jackie the scanner pictures of her baby growing within her. Christopher hugged her tightly and smiled happily. “Both his hearts are developing. You can see them clearly.”

“My own little Time Lord,” Jackie said with a soft laugh. “He’s beautiful.”

“It’s getting to the point when you’re really going to have to relax and look after both of you a lot more though,” The Doctor told her as he prepared a large syringe and Christopher rolled up his sleeve. A daily injection of the Gallifreyan blood of the baby’s father helped her to cope with the sixteen month pregnancy. The Doctor prepared a cocktail of essential vitamins and minerals, too, and a serum made up from some of Christopher’s blood that prevented the iron in Jackie’s Human blood conflicting with their baby’s Gallifreyan DNA. Simple procedures to ensure the health of mother and child.

“We should find a way of synthesising all those things,” Christopher said as they made their way back upstairs again and The Doctor insisted that they have a nice hot cup of tea before Jackie returned to her nursing duty at Harry’s side. “Not that I don’t mind giving my blood every day, but it didn’t used to be necessary. On Gallifrey they had a simple daily pill that sufficed.”

“I know,” The Doctor answered. “I’ve been working on the formula ever since Rose was expecting Vicki. I might have it working in a few years. The problem is beta testing. I have to be sure I’m right before I use it on Rose or Jackie or…”

There was a yell from upstairs. Jackie gave a yelp of concern and began to run.

“It’s Harry,” she said as Christopher restrained her and told her to take it easy. “He’s upset.”

“Yes, I know,” her husband told her. “But he won’t get any happier if you hurt yourself or the baby rushing to his side.”

As they reached the landing at a safe speed Harry’s distress was palpable though. He was screaming and crying in shock Jackie went straight to him, putting her arms around his shoulders and holding him close to her, soothing him with gentle words.

“What caused him to go off like that?” Christopher asked as he watched his wife gradually calming Harry the alien teenager.

“THAT,” Jackie answered, pointing at the portable video screen that had been put into the room. The Doctor stepped forward and picked up the hand held console that selected either a variety of TV programmes and films or internet services and information. Harry had found the news archive and had been scanning through the key events of Human history.

“What is that?” Christopher asked as he looked at the last piece of video Harry had been viewing. “Some kind of dreadful aeroplane accident.”

“It wasn’t an accident,” The Doctor said in a matter of fact tone. “That was an early twenty-first century examples of mans inhumanity to man.” He pressed the digital equivalent of fast rewind and looked at the topics that Harry had viewed before that one, and as the images span past his eyes he understood exactly why the young Demnian was shocked. He found the Human capacity to mess everything up incomprehensible, too.

“Harry.” The Doctor approached him carefully, but he shrank away from him. Jackie seemed to be the only one of them he would respond to at all. But she could barely make out his rush of words in his own language.

“Calm down, sweetheart,” she said to him. “Come on, now. You’re all right. You just had some kind of a fright.” She looked up at The Doctor. “What’s he scared of? What’s the matter?”

“He’s scared of us,” The Doctor replied. “Or more correctly, YOU. Humans. The indigenous population of this planet. He’s been watching news items from over the past three hundred years or so, and all he’s managed to find is war, destruction, genocide…”

“And he thinks all Humans are like that?” Jackie was horrified. “Oh no, no, sweetheart,” she told him. “No, it’s not like that. Yes, bad stuff has happened. Really bad stuff some of it. But we’re not monsters. Not at all. You have to believe me.”

Harry looked at her and blinked rapidly. She put her hand in his and held him tightly as he calmed enough to tell her about how he had read about Earth and thought it a beautiful, peaceful planet, a place not unlike his own world for art and culture and splendour.

“Well, yes, it is all of that,” Jackie assured him. “But…”

“Humans ARE like that sometimes,” The Doctor said to Harry. “That is true. There is no point in them denying it. They did some terrible things to each other for a long time in their history. What you saw there was only a fraction of mankind’s dark side, Harry. They came as close as any race ever did to annihilating themselves. Humans are paranoid, aggressive, irrational…”

“Monsters!” Harry said with real vehemence in his voice.

“No, not all,” The Doctor answered. “Jackie isn’t a monster. You trust her, don’t you? You know she won’t hurt you? She’s taken care of you all this time.”

“Jackie… isn’t… isn’t one of the monsters,” he conceded. “She is… female. It is man who made the evil…”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” Jackie said. “It lets Margaret Thatcher off the hook too easily. But sweetheart, The Doctor is right. Humans AREN’T monsters. We’re not. Please listen to us.”

“Harry,” The Doctor said to him calmly and quietly. “Your people have never had a war. You have never known civil unrest and tribulation. You don’t have crime. You don’t have racism and racial divisions. You’re the quietest bunch in the universe with your books and poetry and painting. You’re lovely. You’re also very naïve and uninformed about the rest of the universe. My people used to WORRY about your planet, you know. They feared what would happen to a bunch of innocents like you if some REAL monsters like the Daleks ever got wind of your existence. I STILL worry about that. It would be a tragedy. Your government worries about it, too. That’s why it sends students like you out into the universe to learn about it. Harry, you are here to LEARN about worlds where ordinary people DO bad things to each other. I don’t think you were MEANT to land in London and get mugged. That was just tough luck. But you WERE meant to discover that even beautiful planets like Earth are not perfect. Humans are not perfect. But they’re not monsters, Harry. They’re not wholly good. They’re not wholly bad. Most of them are a bit of both. Even Jackie. She might be all sweetness and light with you, but she still makes my life hell just like she always did.”

“But….” He had listened to The Doctor’s words and was partially reassured by them. But he looked at the viewscreen again. It had been quietly playing all the time they were talking. Everyone looked and they saw that same image again of an aeroplane smashing into a tall building.

“I remember that day,” Jackie said. “Rose was still at school. She was 15. It was a Tuesday. Just an ordinary Tuesday. When I saw it on the news, I grabbed my coat and ran to the school. I hadn’t met Rose from school since she was about eight and decided she was a big girl and could walk home by herself. But that day I met her. I took her to Macdonalds for a burger – Sorry, but they DID do them with meat in those days. We never thought about it. And then we went to the park and walked and watched swans on the big pond. I know I’m a soppy article. But I just felt like I wanted to be with my daughter and be glad that we were both alive. On a day when so many people weren’t.”

“Quite right, too,” The Doctor told her. “I’m not saying anything crass like there’s a silver lining to every cloud. Not when the clouds are as black as that one was for this planet. But Harry, you’ve only seen one side of humanity. The bad side. I think it is time you saw the other side. Your stitches are healing nicely now. I think you could manage a little light exercise. So let’s get you dressed. Jackie, tell Rose to get the kids faces washed and their coats on. We’re going on a family outing in the TARDIS.”


Jackie thought he was kidding. But he wasn’t. Within an hour the whole family were together. A half hour after that, they emerged from the TARDIS in suitable period costume.

“Edwardian London?” Rose said as she held Peter in her arms and ensured that Vicki and Sukie were in sight as they walked hand in hand together. There were a lot of crowds lining the street and The Doctor steered them to a suitable place where they could see what was happening.

“Some sort of parade?” Jackie asked as she held Harry’s hand. Christopher, by her other side was equally puzzled. David and Susan looked to The Doctor for explanations. But it was Chris who guessed what was happening.

“It’s a funeral procession,” he said. “September 27th, 1905. It’s the funeral of Doctor Barnado.” He touched his brother’s arm as the cortege drew close and the crowd became very still and silent in respect for the dead man whose funeral was as close to a state occasion as it was possible for a commoner to be afforded in England. “Do you remember,” he added. “Granddad took us to see him in 1899. They were FRIENDS.”

“We were mad at dad for not letting us do something,” Davie said, recalling one of the trips they had taken with their great-grandfather when they were young. “I can’t even remember what it was now. But we were doing that old ‘I wish I never had a dad’ routine and granddad was really cross with us for being disrespectful and said he was going to teach us to appreciate our parents. He brought us to the orphanage and showed us the children there. And then he and Doctor Barnado took us around the slum streets of London to see those who weren’t so lucky. We found two kiddies nearly frozen to death in the snow. He and Granddad carried them back to the orphanage.”

“I remember that row,” David said. “I always wondered what it was that changed your tune.” He put his hands on his two grown up sons’ shoulders. “I always blamed The Doctor for putting ideas in your heads. But sometimes they were the right ideas.”

“All these people…” Harry looked around nervously. The Doctor smiled at him.

“All these people, Harry, are honouring a man who did his best to relieve pain and suffering, who spent his life doing good work for those who needed it. One Human who wasn’t a monster.”

The Doctor bowed his head respectfully as the horse drawn hearse passed them by, bearing the body of another man called ‘Doctor’ whose effort to relieve child poverty was almost as impossible as his own life quest to rid the universe of oppression. He glanced at Harry and saw empathic tears in his expressive eyes.


The next stop The Doctor didn’t let everyone leave the TARDIS. It was too dangerous for the children, he said. But he brought Harry along with him from where he had left the TARDIS concealed behind a broken down supply truck that was going nowhere in a hurry. They picked their way through the mud and the barbed wire. Harry looked worried as he took in what was obviously a battlefield.

“It’s all right,” The Doctor assured him. “It’s Christmas Day, 1915. And both sides have agreed to a ceasefire. Come on…”

They both heard the sounds ahead. They weren’t the sounds of battle. They were the sounds, rather, of people having a rare respite from battle. They stopped a little way off still. Just in case the psychic paper didn’t convince them that they had a right to be there. But it was close enough to see men in two different uniforms playing an ad hoc game of football, exchanging cigarettes and singing Christmas carols.

“This is the end of the war?” Harry asked.

“Not by a long shot,” The Doctor admitted. “I’m not even sure how many of these men will actually get through it unscathed. But look at them. Neither side are ‘monsters’. They’re just ordinary men in the middle of something terrible that they have very little control over.”

Harry watched them carefully for as long as The Doctor dared keep them there as witnesses to history before they returned to the TARDIS.

“You mean that REALLY happened?” Rose exclaimed when Harry told them what he had seen. “I always thought it was a myth.”

“No, it was real,” The Doctor told her. “Just for a while, a brief moment, mankind’s gentler side was allowed to reign over the madness of war.”

He set the co-ordinates for another point in history. The TARDIS materialised in Trafalgar Square in the middle of a celebration. The whole place was packed with people. It was even more crowded than Stepney had been in 1905 and this time the people were celebrating, not commemorating.


“VE Day, 1945,” The Doctor said as he took Peter in his arms and gave Rose’s arms a rest. “Another war, Harry. One of the terrible times you saw in your research. They didn’t want the war. They didn’t want five years of fear and grief and loss. And when it was over, before they began to count the cost, they came out of their homes and took this moment to celebrate being alive.”

“Granddad,” Chris said. “Look. Isn’t that…” The Doctor looked where he was pointing, and even in the pulsating crowd of people singing and linking arms in joy and celebration, he made out two figures he knew.

“Take Harry to say hello to them,” he said. He stood back and watched as the twins took their alien friend to meet the old man and the boy who stood near one of the Trafalgar Square lions.

“Who is that?” Jackie asked him.

“A man called Ernest Porter who helped a group of children escape from the Nazis. One of the many people who quietly stood up to tyranny and did their bit.”

“Such an ordinary looking man,” Susan commented as she watched him shaking hands with the boys and with Harry.

“Yes,” The Doctor said. “Heroes don’t always come with square jaws and toothpaste advert smiles. Sometimes they ARE just ordinary men. That’s one thing I love about Humans.”

Harry seemed to be happy with his meeting with Ernest, and the joy and happiness surrounding him. His alien eyes were brighter when they set off to the next destination in time.


“July 13th 1985.” Rose laughed as they walked up Wembley way with the crowds that were heading for the biggest concert of the decade in aid of one of the greatest disasters of the century. “I wasn’t even born.”

“You weren’t even thought of,” Jackie told her. “Pete and I came here, you know. We were young, in love. This was a DATE for us. Funny sort of a one, really. Because it was all about helping those poor, starving people. But we loved it. And we felt like we’d done our bit to help by being there…. by being here I mean.”

“Better try to remember where you were then we don’t cause any paradoxes running into your earlier selves,” Christopher told her. He was rather overwhelmed by it all. There were SO many people at this event. Even the most well-attended events on Gallifrey had nowhere near this many people, and they tended to be much more staid and organised. He clung to Jackie’s hand nearly as tightly as Harry as they mingled with the crowds.


“There you go, Harry,” The Doctor said with a joyous grin on his face as they returned to the TARDIS hours later. Peter was fast asleep in his arms and Vicki and Sukie were drooping despite keeping up with the excitement of the day bravely. “That was a fantastic example of Humans getting it right, doing their best to help their fellow man in another part of the world.”

“Yes,” Harry admitted. “And yet…”

“I’m going to put the kids to bed,” Rose announced.

“One more place,” The Doctor said when she returned from settling the children to sleep. “One more example to show Harry.”

They materialised in Trafalgar Square again. Another celebration seemed to be happening. This time there were less people there, but they seemed to have the same reason for joy and relief.

David and Susan both gasped in surprise as they stepped out of the TARDIS this time.


“It’s the day after we defeated the Daleks,” David said. “Doctor… do you remember.”

“I do, indeed,” he said. “LISTEN.”

They all listened and they heard, clearly, the sound of Big Ben tolling midday. Around them people listened in silence. When it was over, they cheered.

“What’s happening?” Jackie asked. “Why is Big Ben such a big deal to them?”

“The bells haven’t chimed since the Daleks arrived,” David explained. “When we heard them again – the sound carried for miles because there was no traffic, no industry, and so many less people – when we heard those bells it gave us such a boost. We were ready to work together to rebuild our world again.” He smiled as he remembered the events he, himself, had played a key role in, as one of the resistance fighters. He and Susan as young people were in another part of the city when they heard those bells and he recalled that feeling of euphoria, hope, optimism. He felt it all over again. He turned to Harry.

“Do you see?” he said to the alien. “I didn’t at first, when The Doctor brought us on this journey. I thought these were just random events. But they’re not. They’re examples of how humans, for all our failings, for all the violence and anger and the wrong we do… how we also get it right sometimes. We’re not monsters, Harry. When you see some of those terrible events, yes, it must seem like we are the most aggressive race in the universe. But that’s only one side of us. And I hope you have seen the other side of us, now.”

“Yes,” Harry told him. “Yes, I understand. But… Why can’t you be like us then? Why can’t you live in peace?”

“I can’t answer that, Harry,” David answered. “And I’m not saying, for one moment, that humanity is right and you are wrong. But we did our best. And Harry, your peaceful people who have never known fear and war, and strife… What would you do if the Daleks came to your world? How would you fight? You don’t know how to do that. At least we… for all our faults… We knew how to fight back.”

Harry looked at him for a long time. Then he looked at The Doctor.

“Are we wrong then? To be peaceful?”

“No, you’re not wrong,” he assured him. “For your people, that’s your way of life. The peaceful one. And I hope nothing happens to destroy it. I hope you will go on enjoying that life. But when you go back to your world, Harry, will you at least remember Earth and humans as a place and a people who strive towards the peace and harmony your people have achieved. And even if they are a long way from it, they’re TRYING.”

Harry looked around him and smiled. Yes, he seemed to understand, finally. Jackie took his hand again and he turned and smiled at her.

There didn’t seem to be anything else to say.

“Come on, Harry,” she told him. “Let’s go home now. And… if you’re not in any real hurry to go back to your world yes, then I don’t see any reason why you can’t stay for Christmas. Then you’ll really see humans being happy and peaceful and you’ll have something good to say about us all.”